AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy Porterfield here and welcome to another edition of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast, thank you so much for being here.
For today's episode I will be diving into the strategy of launching your programs, your products, your services online.
Here's the great thing, I am diving into this extremely important conversation with the pioneer of all online marketing launches, Jeff Walker.
I'm telling you, you are in for a treat. Jeff is known for a system he created called The Product Launch Formula and is truly one of the top internet marketing experts and leaders. One thing that is also true is that he's not just about making money online and I know many of us are sensitive about that. We don't want to learn from somebody that's all about ‘show me the money', right? There is more to it than just that. Jeff is truly an entrepreneur who cares about his customers and his customers' success.
You're going to hear that inside the interview because he talks a lot about the people he's been able to serve, so you can hear his passion about helping other people. Jeff has a great story of how he got started, I'm going to let him tell you that his own words because it will be more powerful and it's just so good, but what I will tell you is that before Jeff started his first online business he had never run a business before. He had worked in the corporate sector like most of us and he had absolutely zero sales training and no marketing skills. He jokes that he was always the kid that couldn't sell more than one bag of donuts for the Boy Scouts fundraiser every year and that one bag was usually purchased by his parents.
So as you can see, sales and marketing didn't necessarily run in his blood from day one. Truly he was an average guy who made an extraordinary impact on many people's lives and continues to do so through his teaching. That's truly why I am honored to have Jeff on the show today.
Before I bring him on, I want to share one more thing with you and that is that Jeff just wrote a book called ‘Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love And Live The Life Of Your Dreams'. That's a pretty big title there but I'm telling you, I read the book and he really means it. He gives away some of his best – or all of his best launching secrets that he has.
This book is the go-to handbook for anyone wanting to make money and true impact online. I've read the book and I devoured it over just the last few days. Why I'm telling you this is that you have a very short time (I'm talking I think a week, a little bit more) to get the book for free, you just pay shipping and handling but it's a completely free book, plus a bunch of these really cool bonuses that he sends you once you get the free book.
If you go to amyporterfield.com/launch you will actually get the book for free. So go there now, grab the book and make sure you really pay attention to this interview I did with Jeff because you'll understand why this whole launching online could dramatically change your business and your life. So again just go to amyporterfield.com/launch and you can get your hands on the free book.
So the time has come for us to dive into this awesome conversation I had with Jeff, so let's go ahead and do it.
Amy Porterfield: Jeff, thanks so much for being with me today, I really appreciate it.
Jeff Walker: I am excited and honored to be on the call, this is great.
Amy Porterfield: You know, I've never talked to you about this and we've met briefly but never got to spend a lot of time together, but having you on the show is such a cool thing to me because I've told the story so many times of the day that I got to sit in on a meeting at the Tony Robbins headquarters in San Diego, where you and Frank Kern and Eban Pagan and a bunch of other online marketing rock stars, you went around the table and you shared with Tony the experiences you've had with building your online business. That was the day that you completely shocked Tony about the successes that you were having online. Do you remember that day?
Jeff Walker: Like it was yesterday! For me to be able to go in with Tony and help him out, along with those other folks, talk about his business, tell him about my business, it was unbelievable. It was an honor for me to sit at the table with Tony and everyone else.
Amy Porterfield: It was really cool because he was brand new in this whole launching world and he didn't realize that the big successes – I shouldn’t talk for him, but it seemed like he didn't realize that you guys were having huge successes with tiny staffs and you didn't put a lot of money into it to get a lot of money out. So it's like this new world you had introduced him to and I know you went on to be friends with Tony even beyond that, so it's a pretty cool thing.
Jeff Walker: Yeah, Tony is an amazing person. I had studied his stuff and it made an unbelievable impact on me. I don't normally fly across the country to go and sit with someone. It's just not what I do. I don't take on private clients like that but when I got the call from Tony, it was like “Yeah I'm there!”. We walked in and we (being myself, Mike Filsame, Frank and everyone that was there) could see that he was completely blown away.
There's a funny story about that whole thing. That meeting went hours beyond what he thought it was going to be because he was completely shocked. All of us in that room basically started with nothing and we built up these businesses with almost no staff and he was completely shocked.
Amy Porterfield: Totally shocked. Here I was completely in the shadows, just listening in, having no idea who you guys were and that was the day (and I tell this story a lot) that my life changed because I thought “What are these guys talking about?!” You all were really happy, which I loved, you were really enjoying what you were doing, all kicked back, I loved it that everyone was super casual and having a good time. That was the moment where the wheels started turning in my head, I was like “Wait a second, I can get out of the corporate world and I can do something else”. Fast- forward to today and my life is dramatically different. You probably had no idea but you played a huge part in that so thank you.
Jeff Walker: Amy, I had no idea. I didn't know that.
Can I tell that funny story about, do you remember, this is hilarious because Tony scheduled an hour or 90 minutes to be with us and then at about the 3-hour mark he had this call scheduled with Ben Silverman, who at the time was the head of NBC Studios or NBC TV and he had this call scheduled with Tony about possibly doing a TV show. Let's say their call was scheduled for say 1pm and his staff, some of his people started coming in and giving him notes telling him he had this call in 30 minutes – I was sitting right next to Tony so I could see these notes – “You've got the call in 15 minutes”, “You've got the call in 5 minutes” but he was so engaged with us that he couldn't leave! Finally, someone comes in and they say “Ben's on the line” and Tony's
like “Tell him I'll be there in just a minute” and we kept on going for another 10 minutes!
And then he's like “Pictures! Pictures”. He finally got on the call with Ben, I think we stayed in the room with you and Pam, we were following up with some stuff and someone else comes in and said “Tony's on the call with Ben but he had some more questions so he wrote them down and he sent these in”.
Amy Porterfield: No way I didn't know that part!
Jeff Walker: It was hilarious, we were just a bunch of online marketers and he has Ben Silverman on the line.
Amy Porterfield: It just goes to prove, to put it all into perspective how powerful the stuff you were telling is. He saw it. The guy knows when he sees a good thing and so, that is so funny, I didn't know there was that whole “You've got to get in there!” Oh my gosh, when I worked with him, that's all our life was, “Tony, you've got to leave this meeting” or “You've got to do this or that” so when he stays, you know he's serious. That's really cool, I love that.
It's just such a small world. I love that you were there and you were part of that. Of course you went on to be a part of his product that he created from that, there's a lot of good story there.
Here's the thing, when I heard everybody's story, one of the things that really stuck out was where you started, like how this all began. We've got to start there because there's so many of my listeners that are going to relate to your story, so will you tell us about it?
Jeff Walker: Yeah, absolutely. It's funny because I've had some pretty big success but when I started out I was Mr. Mom, I was at home taking care of a couple of little babies, my wife was out supporting the family, she had a full-time job, I think her salary at the time was about $32,000, so a family of four, we didn't have a lot of money to go around at all.
We had debt like student loans and stuff. A lot of times people were like – Mr. Mom, stay at home dad, this isn't like I had a .com and I was super successful and retired and trying to figure out what to do next. No, I had basically been in the corporate world and I did not do very well there, I was not successful in the corporate world. It was a square peg in a round hole type of thing, so just after my first son was born and
my wife was finishing up school and she got a job, I was like “OK, I'm leaving this corporate world, I'm going to be home taking care of my son, Daniel”, I started that when he was about a year and a half old. A couple of years later, my daughter was born, I was home for a long time, I had nothing going on. I had this yearning that I wanted to do something, but I didn't know what to do or how to begin. This is in the mid 90's so being a stay-at-home Dad was a weird thing back then.
I was studying the stock market because I thought I could be a Stock Market Trader and make a living that way. We had no money. We had a yearly disposable income of
$400. We had this really tight budget, we added up everything we spent for groceries, for rent, stuff like that. We had $400 a year, so there wasn't a lot to go around. So the idea of being a Stock Market Trader was crazy, but still I was studying the market and I remember one day I was in the living room with the kids and I looked out and saw my wife drive up in front of the house and this is in her old, ancient Toyota Camry.
The car pulled up and it was in the middle of the day. It was weird for her to be home in the middle of the day. She walked in the house and she was very upset, she was in tears, she was like “Jeff, I can't do this anymore. I get up in the dark, I go to work, I come home in the dark, I barely see the kids. I need you to help support the family”.
Amy Porterfield: Ugh, I can feel it right now!
Jeff Walker: It was like a knife in my gut. But it was completely legitimate for her to say that, I wasn't even that good at being Mr. Mom. I mean I can play with the kids but in terms of running the house, that’s a big job and I wasn't very good at it.
I was like “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” then I remember it made such an impact on me, it was a cry for help from her and I couldn't support the family. I remember the next day I was out cutting the grass, I had no answers but I was cutting the grass and I was walking back and forth thinking “My life is going to change, my life is going to change, I don't know how it's going to change but it is going to change. I'm going to support my family, I'm going to support my wife, I'm going to somehow bring her home”.
It's a big, long story but what I decided to do was, I looked at all this knowledge I had accumulated about the stock market and even though I wasn't a stock broker or I wasn't anInvestment Advisor, I didn't have any initials after my name, no status what so ever, I thought “If I could just start publishing about what I know about the stock market, maybe it will grow into something” so I put together a newsletter about the stock market, I called it the Walker Market Letter.
August 30th 1996 I sent out my first newsletter, it went out to 19 people and when I say 19 people it's an exaggeration. There were 19 email addresses, but one of those was my second email address and one was my wife's email address. I felt better about 19 than 17, I felt more important.
So it started to grow by word of mouth. By my second one a couple of weeks later, I think I had 21 or 23 people on it or something like that. Eventually I put up a website about it, which was really difficult back then, it was like rocket science putting up a website. I started to get a little bit of word of mouth, a few people a day would start to subscribe to it, it was growing then a couple of hundred people on it. A couple of months later there was 400 people and then 600 people, it started to grow. At some point I'm like “Wow, maybe I could try to sell something to these people”, they're all getting my newsletter, they're writing back that they like it, that it's good. None of them ever asked “What are your credentials?”
Amy Porterfield: That's good!
Jeff Walker: That is good, it’s a real good thing, I don't know what I would have said. But once you start publishing, people see you as an authority. I kept on publishing and thought “Maybe they'll buy something from me”, but I didn't know anything at all about selling, I hadn't sold a thing in my life, I'm not a natural sales person what so ever. Since I didn’t know how to sell, I stumbled on to something that made all the difference. I was scared to ask for the order, I didn't think that anyone would ever pay me for something that I'd created. Because I was scared, I started to romance them, I started to hint about something that I had this coming and what it was going to be was an expanded, paid version of the newsletter.
I just started to romance them and I did that for about a month, I didn't know what I was doing. On January 1st 1997, which is a horrible day to do a launch, the world's worst day is New Year’s Day, but I didn't know any better and I sent out what we now call the Open Cart Email. I basically said “I've got this thing, it's available, just send me a check”, because I didn't know how to take credit cards, there wasn't any PayPal back then. So I sent that out and went to bed. I didn't know what to expect.
The next morning I woke up and I checked my email. There was an email from a guy in Switzerland and he said “I'm on board, I'm going to send you a check”, he sent me a check and boom! I was in business. Over the next few days I got checks in for I think it was $1650.
Amy Porterfield: Wow.
Jeff Walker: Exactly! I was shocked, I could not believe that people would actually pay me. $1650 at that point, as I said a disposable income of $400 a year, that was huge. What was even bigger was the realization was that “I did that once, I can do that again and again and who knows, I might even get better at it” and that's what happened. My reach continued to expand, my list continued to build, my newsletter had more and more subscribers.
I evolved my offer, I came out with new offers. My next launch did $6000 then I did a launch of $8000. A couple of years later in 1998 I did a lunch that did $34,000. I think that was more than I'd ever made in a single year up to that point and that was the one where we said “It's time for Mary to come home”, by 1999 she was able to retire – we say that jokingly because she ended up helping me out quite a bit in my business with the back office stuff.
In 1999 she came home, in 2000 I did a launch that did $106,000 in 7 days. That was when we moved out to the mountains. We were living in Denver, Colorado, we moved out to the mountains into Durango, Colorado, which is our dream home town and it allowed us to buy our home in Durango. Little did I know that was just the start of it. It just kept on growing and growing and building.
In 2005 I had a partner in that business, our partnership broke up so in 2005 I started teaching people how to do launches. Since then, my students and clients have done over $500 million. That's half a billion dollars in product launches and now my little babies are all grown up. They actually both work in the business. My son does all my video, he shoots photos and video and my daughter is at college but in the summer she is working in customer service for me.
Amy Porterfield: That's so cool.
Jeff Walker: Yeah, we've got the whole family going.
Amy Porterfield: I love that. I read the book, obviously and one of the things I loved about it was when you talked about that $34,000 launch, you said the words “That was the launch that brought Mary home” and I love that because there's so many people listening, that want to be that breadwinner for their family and they're just not sure if they can do it. Your story is so inspiring because obviously – I said this in the intro that you didn't hear Jeff – but you didn't know how to do online marketing when you started.
Jeff Walker: No.
Amy Porterfield: This is not something you were born with. So figuring it out is such an inspiring story and the thing is, if we fast-forward and you mentioned this a bit, you went on to teach people how to create their own launches and from there, obviously you've had huge success yourself but also the people that you support and you serve, my question to you is a lot of people, especially when they hear me talk about my launches and what I do, they say “OK, you're in a make money online kind of niche. What about me? I do this or I do that, can I really launch online?” What do you say to that?
Jeff Walker: What I say is absolutely. And that's based on experience. This is the deal. I had developed all these techniques about teaching about the stock market. I had a newsletter that was for mutual fund investors and then I created another one that was for day-traders and that was back before anyone knew what day-traders were, so it was a tiny little niche.
The first person that I taught this to, mainly John who actually did start a product about internet marketing, at that point I'm like “OK John, I'll show you what I did and I think it's going to work for you, it works in my stock market business, I don't know if it works for teaching people how to make money online” and he actually used it and did the first $1,000,000 launch, so I'm like OK, now I know it works in internet marketing and the stock market. Then I had a friend who had a business teaching people how to write love letters.
Amy Porterfield: What?
Jeff Walker: Yeah. She called herself the Romance Coach and she had an e-book about writing love letters. She had great work, a great person but she didn't have great success. She had a great list of people that really liked her stuff. I'm like “OK, let's try it for those love letters” and boom! In a couple of days she made more than she had ever made in any single month.
Amy Porterfield: Wow.
Jeff Walker: And that's with no new products, basically the products she already had. We know it works for love letters, internet marketing and for stock market, let's see what else it will!
Since then, my students and clients have done this in every market, from crochet to meditation to board games to dog training to tennis to Holstein cow embryos to baseball coaches, you name it, it works.
Amy Porterfield: When I read that list I thought “This is so cool” because when you read the book you realize “This is for anybody who is serious about launching online, no matter what you're doing, you can find a way”, I really do believe that, the stories you told in the book and that you've explained how to do it is exactly what people are looking for because we all feel that our businesses are so unique but when you start learning the strategies you realize how you can fit those businesses into what you've created.
Jeff Walker: Absolutely. This isn't magic. I'm not a magician. It's worked over and over because it's based on sound principles and how the brain works. There are certain things that will draw people's attention and pull them in. Things like mental triggers. There's a whole chapter on mental triggers in the book. Pulling them in with story and anticipation. You can't ever depend on one message doing the job. The difference between a Super Bowl ad, the people go out and spend millions of dollars on the Super Bowl ads and some of them work and some of them don't, it's a one shot deal.
This is the opposite to that, it's about taking your marketing and turning it into an event that people get involved in and pulled into, using multiple messages and often multiple media to really grab them so they are anticipating your next email, your next post, your next update, your next video, they can't wait. They are on board with you, it's like you've created a community. The reason this works is because it's a tested process that's been proven over and over because it pulls people in.
Amy Porterfield: I'm so glad you talked about the process because here's the thing, I want you to talk about breaking it down a bit, because here's what I intensely know about my audience:
They want to create a business or grow a business but they're looking to make profits now. They don't have the luxury to wait a year or two to make sure this works in order to start generating revenue, which I know from your beginning, you can totally relate to. I know that many that are listening want to create a business but they need really low overheads and really low startup costs because money is tight. Most of them tell me they're a one- man or a one-woman show, so they don't have a lot of support as well. In everything I teach I always say you need a plan, whether I'm talking about Facebook marketing, list building, whatever it is, you need a plan, you need a system.
That's truly what you've created with The Product Launch Formula, so I thought maybe you could break it down because I know there's different sections of that whole system you've created.
Jeff Walker: Right, let me think, what I'm going to do is give you the basics of doing these launches and then I'm going to walk through the three types of launches. Depending on where you're at.
There's three launches, there's the Seed, the internal and the JV launch, depending on where you're at in your business, one of those is going to fit.
Before we talk about that, there's sequences, so like there's triggers and the story, I don't have time to get into that right now, but I want to talk about the sequences.
Typically there's a pre-pre-launch and that's where you're agitating the market, you're getting people interested, you're letting them know that something is coming, but it's not that a product is coming, it's something cool is coming. Really in the pre-pre- launch you're trying to be very interactive, often you're doing a survey, whether it's via surveymonkey.com or you're just surveying them by sending an email to them or a Facebook update that says “I'm thinking of doing this, what do you want to learn? Or what do I need to cover?” That would be a really typical one.
“A lot of people have been asking me to teach them how to play blues lead guitar. I've been really busy but I think I've carved out enough time to put together a program that shows how to do this and what I want to know is if you could sit down with me for one quick lesson, what would be the number one thing you would want to learn from me about playing blues lead guitar?”
You sit back and you look at that feedback, which will tell you what people's hot points are, what their aspirations are, what they're excited about, what their pin points are. Then you need to create a product that answers those. This is how you create a great product. Sometimes there are those movies that have a big opening day and they really try to push the big opening day because they know that once people watch it the word of mouth will kill the movie!
Amy Porterfield: Right!
Jeff Walker: This isn't what that's about. This is about creating a great product and a great offer. So the pre-pre-launch is all about getting intelligence so that you can create a great offer and a product, but it's also letting people know that something is coming before you're in that sales mode. Because once you're in the sales mode, no one believes you. This is about building up trust and a relationship before you ever ask for the sale, before they perceive you as trying to sell to them. So there's the pre-pre- launch and I know I went through that quickly but I want to get to the pre-launch.
Typically in the pre-launch there are three pieces of pre-launch content.
One thing I want to state upfront, this is about building value. These are value videos. They don't have to be videos, they could be a blog post, could be social media but most of us are better at speaking than we are at writing. Once we start writing we think we have to write something that sounds like it's a college essay. It's easier to be more authentic and communicate better via video for most of us.
You can shoot a great video with a smart phone. So typically three videos:
So in the first video, you're really sharing the opportunity. A lot of people feel squeamish about that word ‘opportunity' or they think “I'm not selling an opportunity”, but the reality is if you're selling a product about blues lead guitar, you're selling the opportunity for someone to actually be able to fill their artistic vision, be able to entertain people, be able to pick up chicks, whatever it is they want to do with guitar playing, but there is an opportunity for their life to transform. If a month from now someone could play a couple of nice blues leads, is their life transformed? Absolutely.
So in this first video you really have to let people know that there is an opportunity and you're sharing the journey. Even in this call we started off talking about my journey, right. It's a very compelling thing, when you can share your journey.
So the first video is all about setting up whatever it is. It could be about building a meditation practice, it could be about going into your backyard and picking herbs from your garden and using those to make tinctures that will keep your family healthy. Whatever it is, there's some kind of transformation that you're going to be providing. This first video is all about communicating what that transformation is. It's really about communicating the opportunity.
The second video is where you're actually going to show the transformation. If you can show your transformation, your clients' transformation, then this is absolutely ideal. There is some real teaching in here. If you have a case study you can use, fantastic. What you're doing is showing how their life can transform. You're in a teaching mode if you're selling a product. Most of us out there are going to be teaching something. It's really about the transformation.
The third video is what we call the Ownership Experience. I got that term from Andy Jenkins, I think he got it from the car companies. In any case, the Ownership Experience. This is where you're really starting to bring them inside your product and
showing them what it's like to own the product and really see that transformation in their life.
One of the big things that people make mistakes, in that third video you have to create a soft landing for your next video, the next message. That's where you actually start selling, in the fourth piece. That could be a sales letter or a sales video. In the third video, the ownership experience, in the last several minutes, you have to make a pivot towards making the sale, you want to tell them that something's coming.
Typically you're going to say something along the lines of “Hey, it's been fantastic sharing these videos with you, I know a lot of people have got a lot out of it, a lot of people have made comments about how they've taken these trainings and they are already making changes in their life. Now in the next video I'm going to tell you about my next program that's going to be coming out. If you want to go even deeper than we went in these three videos then be sure to watch that next video because I'm going to be sharing this program that I'm so excited about”. That's a typical sequence for the pre-launch, that's just leading up to when you open cart.
The open cart period is where you're actually taking sales.
One of the keys with the open cart is now you're in a different sequence. You had that pre- launch and now you're into open cart. Usually open cart (and that's just a term we use, I know I'm using a lot of jargon, these are all Product Launch Formula sort of jargon) but once you open cart, you will have some sort of special launch offer. That offer will be available for a limited time, typically 5 to 7 days is about the right amount of time. If you go much beyond 7 days it can turn into a beg-athon. You want to be emailing people and posting to social throughout the open cart period and after 7 days, you sort of run out things to say.
One of the things you need to do is have a hard end to your launch offer, because the scarcity at the end of the offer – you know, you will double your sales in the last 24 to 48 hours – if you don't have that hard scarcity at the end, you're leaving half the sales on the table. That scarcity is another word that throws people off, because I am like the most abundance minded person you know but people love to procrastinate on making decisions, especially if their decision is to spend money.
So at the end of your launch you have to say generally one of three things:
- The offer is no longer available, I've pulled the offer off of the market, or
- The price is going up, or
- Some set of bonuses are going away.
You have to have that deadline at the end, so at the end of that 5 to 7 day period, end of launch. You have this huge last day and then you move on from there. So those are the pre-pre-launch, the pre-launch and the open cart. Three core sequences. In the book there is a chapter for each one of those, I went through them really quick today. Do you have any questions on those because otherwise I'll just jump right into the three types of launches.
Amy Porterfield: No I think you explained them really good.
Jeff Walker: OK, so then there's three major types of launches, there's some other types but three major types. The first is the Seed launch. The Seed launch is great because you can start with no list, no product and no real presence and build from there and you get paid before you even create the product.
Amy Porterfield: Nice!
Jeff Walker: Yeah, it's a great thing! It's not for creating a massive huge payday; you know I threw out some big numbers earlier, $34,000 or $106,000. It's very rare for someone to do that unless you're bringing major assets to the table and for most of us starting out we don't have a huge list or anything like that.
So the Seed launch, basically what you're doing is you're offering a series of live trainings often via teleseminar or webinar, it could be via a hangout. If you're teaching that blues lead guitar, it might be a great one for hangouts. You might have three or five hangouts or webinars and basically you think about whatever you want to teach, can you come up with five main topics?
Can you split it into five main topics? Blues Lead, so the first class will be Pentatonic, the second one will be Bends and Slides. I'm not really a guitarist, I'm an aspiring – actually that's bad mental programming, I'm a beginning guitarist. I can talk the talk. I'm a good guitar buyer! I've got some really nice guitars! I think that's where my real skill comes out.
So you split the topic into the five main areas and you do a call on each. Survey your buyers ahead of each call to find out what they need to know about that topic, then you're just grouping those questions into a logical order.
Five calls later, you have the product done. You do the launch sequence ahead of it. Really you're looking to get – 30 people is ideal. There is a story in the book of Tara
Marino and she did this with I think five or six people. She took her training and she was able to convince out of her tiny little contact list, people to buy it and she was going to teach women how to lead a more sensuous life. She did these calls and recorded the calls. Now you've got a product, with the recordings, get transcripts done. What you've done is created a great product because before each call you're surveying your people to find out exactly what they want.
Amy Porterfield: That's awesome. So they're actually paying before you start these calls, they're paying to get on these calls with you?
Jeff Walker: Absolutely.
Amy Porterfield: Great, so they're paying to get on the calls, you're getting feedback for every single call, at the end of four or six weeks, whatever, you have a product. Now you can sell that product even beyond of course this live workshop you just did.
Jeff Walker: Totally.
Amy Porterfield: That's awesome.
Jeff Walker: You know what Amy, when I switched from teaching about the stock market to teaching about product launches, I knew all about product launches, I'd done a couple of dozen, I had great success, I'd built up this body of knowledge, but I didn't know how to teach it. I wasn't born knowing how to teach product launches. So I did this exact process and I got six people to buy from me, that's all I could get, I got six people to buy from me. So then what I did, because I knew I wanted to get more interaction on the calls, I got friends involved.
Amy Porterfield: Smart.
Jeff Walker: 30 friends. I was like “Hey, you guys know I do this, I know you want to learn how to do this. I'm not going to ask your for money, I'll just comp you in” so I had somewhere between 30 and 40 people on the calls. Then I learned how to teach. Because before every call, I'd say “This is what we're going to cover on this one, what do you want to know?” and then between call one and two I would say “Can you just tell me what I did well and what I should do differently in covering that last topic? Do you have any additional questions?”
Amy Porterfield: So valuable.
Jeff Walker: Yep. ‘Did well, do differently'.
Then, next week's topic is ‘X'. So it would be like “Last week we talked about pre-pre- launch. I just want to make sure that you didn't have any more questions about that, can you tell me what I did well and what I should do differently?” and “Next week's call is going to be about open cart, what do you need to know about open cart?” so it's basically two or three questions. I was learning how to teach this stuff. Like you said, after five weeks, you're done! Since I'm a huge fan of over delivering at all times, and I know you are as well Amy, it's easy to promise five and do an extra bonus call that's nothing but a wide open Q&A call. Six calls! It's a really simple way to tie up loose ends and deliver beyond what you promised.
Then you've got a product.
Me, being a perfectionist, I wasn't happy with those calls so I went and re-recorded everything and re-did everything, in reality you don't have to do that but I am a perfectionist. Everyone will tell you that my training has changed the world.
Amy Porterfield: Truly.
Jeff Walker: It has! I'm a humble guy, I try to stay humble but you know…
Amy Porterfield: Well you do a good job, what can you say!
Jeff Walker: Exactly! But it's not because I woke up one morning being a genius at this, it's because every step of the way, I'm always looking for feedback and I'm always tapping into the collective genius that my clients represent.
Amy Porterfield: Yes.
Jeff Walker: A lot of people that are listening to this are just starting out and I just said my students have just done half a billion dollars, how can they relate to that? Well, you can relate because I started out this Product Launch Formula business with six clients and I learned how to teach it.
Eight or so years before that, I started out with 17 subscribers and I just watched what they reacted to. That is so much easier now than it used to be, with social and with comments on blogs and so many more people online, it is so much easier to tap into the collective genius of your market, of your clients, of your prospects and you just have to listen. If you have an ego in the way, you have to get it out of the way and say “They know more than I do and if they're not getting the results, then I'm doing something wrong and I have to change what I'm giving to them”.
Amy Porterfield: That reminds me, one thing I really love about your book and I want to remind people because I know they're getting excited like “I've got to learn this stuff”, if you go to amyporterfield.com/launch you can get your hands on the book right away and a bunch of bonuses and cool stuff. I bring that up now because one of the greatest things about your book is that you are telling story after story of other people, I mean you've got the food stamp guy, come on! It's amazing, the stories you tell, where they started and where they ended. It wasn't too long ago when I started with no idea how to put together a business so I know those stories really resonate with me and I think that that's why your book is doing so well, because you can see yourself in those stories.
Jeff Walker: You know Amy, I think I'm probably the most boring person in the world at a cocktail party because inevitably someone will ask me about my business and I'll start telling them stories about my clients and you just can't shut me up. You just mentioned food stamp guy, now I want to start talking about John Gallagher because the stories are remarkable.
My students are my heroes. John Gallagher started on food stamps, borrowed the money to get my training. He had a board game about edible and medicinal plants and herbs. The reason he was on food stamps – he's a great guy, he's become a friend of mine – at that point he was full time at a non-profit, he was going to school to be an Acupuncturist and he was raising a family, wife and two kids. There's not much to go around. He borrowed the money to get my training, borrowed the money from his Dad to get those board games made up and that's like $20,000 because when you get board games made up you have to get a whole bunch of them made up.
Amy Porterfield: The picture in the book of all the board games around his house – priceless!
Jeff Walker: We've only got one picture in the book for space purposes but there's another photo of the second bathroom, there's boxes coming out the top of the shower stall because he had so many games made up.
Amy Porterfield: Before he got your product, for the record.
Jeff Walker: Yes, before he got the product. He has this idea for the board game, it was going to be what was going to turn his life around, what was going to bring in the money. So he borrows the $20,000, gets these board games, they bring him pallet after pallet, they're unloading on his driveway. He did a little launch party like you're
supposed to do, that's how you launch something right, you have a launch party and he sold 12 games.
He sold 12 games at $30 a pop. $360. And he spent $20,000 to get these games made up. That's like your one bullet. There's no more bullets in the gun! So what do you do!
Then he found me through a Google search on product launch, he borrowed some more money from his Dad to get my training and he became a mad scientist, went crazy studying it. A few weeks later he did another launch, exact same assets, he had a very small email list and that's how he drove people to the first launch party that sold 12 games. He put together a proper launch, textbook PLF style launch, and he sold 670 games.
Amy Porterfield: Amazing.
Jeff Walker: Exact same assets, he didn't bring anything else to the table. He didn't spend any money on advertising, he had no money. It's like apples to apples, 12 games versus 670. And so he basically made that $20,000 back because he had to pay his Dad back and then he continued to roll out launch after launch for the board game. Eventually he created a membership site, learningherbs.com and created products.
He has now become a very significant person in that herbal market, like the herbal education market, edible medicinal plants and herbs. Some of his heroes in that market have come to him to help them create products. He has built up a small team. He hit six figures years ago and gone way beyond and he has made this incredible impact on the world.
Amy Porterfield: It's crazy and just to think where he started. They are my favorite stories. You have tons of stories in there but one thing that you keep saying that I've got to come back to is that so many of these people did not have a list.
Now I have to tell you, selfishly one of the reasons why I just devoured your book is because I'm a huge advocate of the email list and the day I finally – it was about a year and a half into my business that I decided – what the heck am I doing? I'm consulting for a million people and hate every second of it, why don't I have an email list? The day I decided was the day my business changed.
So from there, that's what I teach, when I teach Facebook marketing it's all about list building. I say that because my favorite line in your book, well maybe ONE of my favorites is that you said “Your list is not a strategy, it's THE strategy” and I want you to talk about that a little bit because it's so important for people to understand.
Jeff Walker: Yeah, you know somehow I stumbled onto that right from the very beginning.
Amy Porterfield: You are so lucky!
Jeff Walker: Because I sent out that first email to 19 email addresses. That was months before I had a website and of course back then there was no social. I've always been obsessed with building a list. That list went on to at one point having over 80,000 subscribers but it started with 19. When I started it again with this Product Launch Formula business where I was teaching entrepreneurs, I started with zero subscribers. No one is born with a list. I didn't come out of the womb with a list.
Amy Porterfield: Oh how I wish we did.
Jeff Walker: It would have been great! But no one is born with a list, everyone starts with their first subscriber. That's what I love about what you're doing. You're teaching a very sound Facebook strategy but it's all about driving to the list. The reality is all of us have to start somewhere and we have to build from there. Now it's so much easier to build because we have social to build with and we didn't have that back then.
Amy Porterfield: Yeah, it makes a big difference but the thing is that you say in the book is that the list is – like I know that you're teasing but not really teasing – a license to print money. You tell that great story of when you wanted to buy your home, your second home, your dream home and you didn't really have a down payment so you went to the list. That to me is such huge security.
Jeff Walker: It is. In our kind of business, there are very few true assets and I think we have to focus on, building assets in our businesses. A few years ago people were all about getting search engine rankings. I know people that had million dollar businesses and then Google changed their algorithm and overnight their million dollar business went to not even a six figure business.
Amy Porterfield: That makes my stomach hurt.
Jeff Walker: It's horrible. Or people that build up great ad campaigns in various places and they lost their ad campaign or whatever. But if you have that list, you can turn on
the money spigot any time you want. I know that sounds like hyperbole but it's not. I've done that over and over, my clients have done that over and over, so you really have to focus on always building a list. Frankly I think launches are the best way to build a list.
Amy Porterfield: Yes.
Jeff Walker: They absolutely are. Now that I think about it, I got distracted from talking about the three types of launches.
Amy Porterfield: I know, we've got to come back to it, OK.
Jeff Walker: There's the Seed launch, there's the Internal launch and that's where you do a launch just to your list. I call them elegant, you're in complete control of the process. Typically, someone will do an internal launch and just by word of mouth they'll often grow their list significantly. If you have a small list, you have 300, 500 or 1000 people on your list and you do a great launch, you put out great pre-launch content and create great value, you will likely double the size of your list.
Amy Porterfield: No doubt.
Jeff Walker: If you have a big list of 30,000, you're not going to double that, but if you have a small list you will double it. Tara, she was the one that did that Seed launch I was talking about earlier and sold six of them, after she did that, her list went from 50 to 300. Just by putting out that great value and getting people really excited.
The third type of launch is what I call pouring gasoline on a fire. This is where things can really blow up big. It's a lot more complicated. It shouldn't be your first launch, it's what we call a JV launch. It's where other people in your market will mail their list and tell them about your pre-launch content. The reason they will do that is because they are affiliates and you will eventually pay them when you make the sale.
I did a JV launch when I started my new Product Launch Formula business and then I did another one, I started the business and basically that business went from $0 to
$1,000,000 within six months because I did the JV launch. My first business had taken me six years to get to $1,000,000 in sales. Then to show you how crazy it is, I came out with Product Launch Formula 2.0 a few years later, I built up these JV relationships and I actually did $1,000,000 in less than an hour.
Amy Porterfield: I thought that was a rumor. I'm so glad you're saying that here. That is insane.
Jeff Walker: Yeah, I think it was 53 minutes. You can look at those things in your server stats. There was one second where we first went live, one second where I made
$12,000 in sales.
Amy Porterfield: Come on! Where else can you do that?
Jeff Walker: This is the business that started with six sales. It's nuts.
Getting back to the list building, when you do one of those JV launches, they are complicated and they should not be your first launch. I talk about them in the book, you should do the Internal launch first and the Seed launch before that. When you do that, you can add thousands of people to your list. When I do one and I'm not the best case study because I do have this position in the market and I have a lot of experience, but I'll add 20,000/30,0000/40,000 people to my list within a matter of 10/12/14 days.
Amy Porterfield: Wow.
Jeff Walker: I don't want to lose the beginners because if you're listening and you're like “I can never do that”, you're right, you can't do that right now, but don't say “I can never do it” because you can, eventually do it. I got here. So many of my clients got there. I'm not a magician. If you asked me when I first started out, what's the most unlikely career you could ever have? It would be sales and marketing because I'm not wired for that. I'm born to teach and help people and that's what I do in my marketing and that just ends up making you an incredible magnet and makes you unbelievably attractive. That's where all the good things come from.
Amy Porterfield: It's so true. I know we have wrap it up and we're going on a little bit longer, but this stuff is so good that I just can't help it. I want you to tell people a little bit about your book and who it's for. Some of these topics are really big topics so some of the newbies might be thinking “Wait, that's way over my head” but it's actually not true in terms of who your book is for, right?
Jeff Walker: Right.
There are three main audiences that I wrote the book for. These are the three main audiences that are in my world. Actually there's a forth and I'll mention that one briefly as well.
- The first one is someone who has an online business. Maybe you have some kind of product, some kind of traffic, maybe some kind of list. For those people this is literally money in the bank, well maybe not literally but figuratively money in the bank. You drop this in, you're going to make a lot more sales and you're going to build your business. I've seen it work over and over.
- The second category is people that are just starting out, they're thinking about doing something. This is how you start fast. The reality is that starting something is not easy, it requires energy and that energy dissipates quickly if you don't see results quickly. If you don't start to get results quick then you're never going to go anywhere. Our businesses are built on, thrive on and are fueled by momentum. This book, my process is how you get momentum quickly. So it's for people that are thinking about starting a business or creating a product. That's the second category.
- The third category is what I call Practitioners. This might be somebody who has an offline business. They might be teaching people meditation or how to eat right or how to do yoga or how to play tennis. They have a nice business, they've got some clientele but they're trading dollars for hours and they're like “How do I leverage my life?” If you're a Practitioner, teaching people how to meditate, the only way you make more money is by teaching more people and you only have so many hours. This is how you get leverage. This is how you take your body of work and turn it into a real business.
Amy Porterfield: There's a big audience out there that are in that place right now.
Jeff Walker: And the fourth one. This is not overtly for them but it works for them, it's artists. So if you're a writer or a sculptor or a painter or photographer, then you can take these principles and use it to get your art out into the world in a bigger way.
Amy Porterfield: So these is something for everyone there.
Jeff Walker: A lot of people. If you're out there selling a commodity, if you're selling sand or an emergency service, probably not a good fit if it's just a pure commodity. But otherwise this works, it just works.
Amy Porterfield: And your stories in the book prove it. I really want to encourage everybody to go to amyporterfield.com/launch, grab the book. You also have some really cool bonuses that you're promising people.
Jeff Walker: Absolutely and we're actually adding more bonuses.
Amy Porterfield: Nice.
Jeff Walker: As we're recording this, I've got the case study with Tara Morino, she was the person who did that Seed launch that sold six, how to live a sensuous life. It sounds like a soft topic, it sounds like a topic that maybe there's not a huge market for. It sounds hard to sell, at least to me it does. She went from six people buying her product and turned that into $500,000 in a very short period of time. So you get the full case study of that, it's a PDF, I'll send you that the day after you sign up.
Then I've got three full-length training videos. The first one really walks through the sideways sales letter. We didn't have time to talk about that today but that's the core principle, the core strategy, the core tactic really that drives the whole Product Launch Formula is the sideways sales letter. It's how you sell very effectively without being slimey, in a way that makes people love you.
Amy Porterfield: That strategy offers major value to the people that are taking in that content. I didn't know that you had a free video on that, that's awesome.
Jeff Walker: Yeah, I think it's about 27 or 24 minutes long. I walk through it and exactly how it works, what you do where, what mental triggers you put in where. The next video walks you all through the Seed launch and how it relates to the internal launch and the JV launch and how that develops into what I call the Circle of Awesome. The Circle of Awesome is how you move through those launches and have them build and continue to spiral bigger and bigger.
The third video is a video and a lengthy PDF report that walks through the entire Product Launch blueprint. I think that blueprint is somewhere in the 13/14/15 pages long and it's a 40 minute video that walks you through every step of the blueprint and how all the pieces tie together, including resources and tools.
Amy Porterfield: Those are awesome bonuses because you are a perfect example of ‘give your best stuff away for free'. This is your platform, the foundation of your business, this good stuff that you're giving away so I'm really excited about that.
Jeff Walker: It's exciting. A lot of people want to know about the writing process and I am a bit of a writer and that's where I do have a bit of an ego, I write well.
Amy Porterfield: It's good that you said that because I thought “Who wrote this book?” I didn't think you wrote it. It's really good.
Jeff Walker: It took me three years to write this thing.
Amy Porterfield: Wow.
Jeff Walker: I started talking to my publisher 5 or 6 years ago. It's been a long work in progress. Because it's so personal and there's so much of my story in there – and I want people to understand, it's not just stories, it's hard core how to do this, tactics, strategies – but there's a lot of stories in there because that's what draws people in, that's what gets people to finish the book is the stories.
Because there are a lot of personal stories, my struggles, my mistakes, my successes, my challenges, there's also all these stories of these clients of mine that I feel so close to. I wrote this book and I didn't show it to anyone except for my editor. It's probably a good idea to run your book by people to make sure you're not off target.
Right at the end it was time to get some testimonials and reviews and I got really nervous because I was like “Wow, what if this actually sucks?”, that was the thought really. I thought it was good, I worked so hard on it, I went through three revisions before my editor ever saw it then three more, it was so much work, three years. I was like “What if I really messed up and I just didn't get enough feedback and it's really not good?” but I had to send it out and get these reviews and what came back was just…
Amy Porterfield: Oh seriously, what people said about the book in the very beginning, first of all I couldn't believe some of the people that you had were just amazing, but they loved it.
I want to say one more thing and then I promise we'll wrap up but who is the guy from Hay House? Reid?
Jeff Walker: Reid Tracy.
Amy Porterfield: Yes, I love what Reid Tracy said, he said “This is by far a phenomenal business book but it is so much more than just a business book” and that's where I think your personal stories make it so much more. It's good stuff.
Jeff, thank you so much for spending this time with us. This is like the mini lesson in launching and anyone listening that wants to really first, take their product/program/ service to the next level but also just change their life in the process, I know that sounds dramatic but it's very true, you've got to get your hands on this book.
I'll talk about it here in the outro as well but first I just want to say Jeff, thank you so much for being here.
Jeff Walker: Oh thank you, it was great being on with you.
Amy Porterfield: You have a great day.
Jeff Walker: Thank you, you too.
Amy Porterfield: So there you have it. Hopefully you've enjoyed this launching online conversation as much as I have. As you can see, Jeff is the real deal. He not only truly knows how to make money online, but he actually really cares about the people he works with and that's why I'm such a fan.
So again, just go to amyporterfield.com/launch to get your hands on that book and all those really cool bonuses that he talks about as well.
Until the next time we chat, I hope you have a wonderful week and start thinking about how you're going to launch online soon. Keep me updated on all of your successes, I love to hear about what you all are working on. I can't wait to talk to you again soon.